While many retail stores put up their holiday displays back in October, the unwritten timeline for holiday decor is the day after Thanksgiving until a few days after New Year’s.

Browsing for decor always puts me in the holiday spirit, but truth be told it also leaves me a bit deflated. It is hard for me to grasp the high prices for items that are only on display in the home for a little over a month at most. Luckily, I have found some creative ways to make holiday decorating easier and less expensive.

Stock up on bundles of burlap


Place it on tables or shelves with items on top of them. Add some pinecones, holly, rosemary and/or sprigs of pine from your tree to make it a bit more festive. You can also drape burlap around your tree for an inexpensive tree skirt.

Rethink wrapping paper

Craft paper can serve as wrapping paper. Use twine as a ribbon wrapped around the present and secured in a bow. Add some color by snipping an areca palm from your garden and securing it beneath the twine. If you want to go the eco-friendly route, use extra pillowcases.

Place the presents inside and twist the top shut. Secure with twine or ribbon.

Use cards as decor


Friends and family members put a lot of time and effort into creating and sending the perfect holiday cards. Put them on display. You can string twine across a mantle and use clothes pins to hang them. Or, you can place some fabric over a bulletin board and create a zigzag pattern using twine. Hang up the board and attach the cards as they come in. Give it some pizzazz by adding lights to the board as well.

Buy a bag of pinecones

I have seen these at the grocery store and at the craft stores for $5 to $10 each. You can place pinecones in festive bowls, apothecary jars or vases around the house. Or, you can spread them out and place individual pinecones sporadically on shelves or tables. Not only will they look nice, but they will make your home smell good, too.

Make it easy

I used to crawl on the floor underneath our holiday tree to plug in and unplug the lights each night. That is, until my brother spent the holidays with us and clued me into remote-controlled outlets. Now, we control our Christmas tree, outdoor lights, fans and lamps from a remote. Do yourself a favor and buy a kit with more than one remote.


Have a comment or question for Joanne? Email thefixisin@gmail.com.